Refuse to be Passive

Cell phones and the Beck and Call

In Life in General on September 27, 2010 at 10:04 am

Have you ever had it that you’re chatting with a friend and their cell phone rings or a text comes in, and it’s “just one second.” You’ve suddenly become second rate. Due to this, I’ve seriously considered getting rid of my cell phone, except for the fact that I don’t have a land line. Family and friends will often comment to me, “You never pick up your phone.” Well, if I don’t pick up my phone, dear ones, it’s because I’m busy with something else. I do have an answering machine and I will get back to you once whatever I’m doing is through. It seems to me that people think that cell phones mean you should be at their beck and call.  If you’re interested in the origin of this phrase, please see the end of my post. But the truth of the matter is, that before cell phones, no one expected you to pick up the phone every time. We survived millenia without any sort of phones at all and humanity did not come to an end. Then there was the hundred years that there were only stationary phones. What horror! Once again, people didn’t assume someone would be sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. So why is it that we now have such a strong sense of entitlement as to expect people to pick up the phone whenever we call? In fact, yesterday I did something truly daring. I walked to the grocery store and back without my cellphone. It was glorious, although I did miss having the clock to tell what time it was. Watches seem to have gone out of vogue. The nice thing about cellphones is that they don’t tend to give you wonky tan lines.

Beck and Call

We all know the phrase, but most people aren’t sure whether it’s “beck and call” or “beckon call”.

Apparently this phrase dates back as early as the 14th century, and the first printed version of this phrase in the 19th century reads “beck and call.” “Beckon call” is simply a misspelling of “beck and call”, although if people continue to use it as such it may become standard usage, as many grammatically incorrect phrases are.

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